Spot the Difference

So much for the new politics, eh? If the people speak and it doesn’t suit one or other of the Big Two at Westminster, then the people will have made a mistake. Just because the voters state a preference for a different system doesn’t mean the politicians will deign to deliver it.

Labour must rule out any deal with Nationalists because…well, because they want to break up Britain…they’re untrustworthy…abusive…but mostly because they’re Nationalists.

John Major, former British PM, 1997

This I gleaned today from a few minutes listening to the BBC who informed me in their Most Important Story of the Day that a former Prime Minister from the Tory Party demands that the current Labour leader publicly opposes an SNP arrangement. This did not surprise me. John Major has the Tory Party’s interests at heart before democracy’s and he suffers from the English supremacist disease of patronising Scots. As Stewart Hosie pointed out, he is happy to urge us to remain in Union so that his nation can effectively boss us, but when we do remain in and use our democratic right to vote for a party he disapproves of, he objects because we might have influence over him and his people.

He is therefore incapable of understanding the country he claims to love. It is a union of nations – a family (copyright BT), so help me – and we bring together all strands of opinion in one parliament which, as democracy dictates and not English snobs, means we have a voice roughly in relation to our representation. Anything else is anti-Unionist.

Major doesn’t want Nationalists in government because they want ‘to break up Britain’. Only that’s not what the Nationalists are saying. As democrats they acknowledge the new reality after the referendum that the people have rejected their offer. It is Major who is not respecting the views of the Scottish voters…voters who want not only to participate in British democracy but to influence it by sending south a significant cohort of SNP members. And did Major miss the irony of resisting Scots having influence over England when his party has a single MP currently dictating policy over Scotland? Again, that to Major is the ‘normal way of things’ but if you try to reverse the equation, it is unacceptable to him and a threat to existence of the country. Hypocrite is as good a word as any – he did after all preach family values while bedding another man’s wife. He really doesn’t understand the meaning of union…


But what piqued my interest was to hear this most unreconstructed British elitist fully supported by another unreconstructed British elitist – Labour MP Ian Davidson. Like two peas in a pod, these long-time parliamentarians shared exactly the same ground of standing up for Britain first in the face of the vile Nationalists.

Tory/Labour. Either/Or. Tweedledum/Tweedledee…different at the edges, distinguished by tone for sure, but in cold reality, locked together in the same anti-progressive, pro-British Unionist kleptocracy.

With no concept of how this sounds in modern Scotland, so called left-winger Davidson sided unequivocally with the right-wing Old Tory Guard against having any SNP influence in a British government. Lack of awareness is a Davidson hallmark – it has to be otherwise he couldn’t possibly continue to behave like a heifer with mad cow disease. But such is the bubble of indifference surrounding him after years of guaranteed re-election that he epitomises Labour’s branch office mentality.

‘We prefer the Tories’ is what Labour proclaimed during the indyref and here it is again, repeated even unto the void, the suicide mantra of nonchalance.

Davidson was spitting the kind of barely-controlled hatred you hear on the football terracing which, conversely brought to mind the words of his leader (whom I’m sure he admires greatly). This is Jim Murphy on his election: ‘Know this: I share far more with many of you who voted yes than I do with some of the political leaders who campaigned for No.Together we have a common aim – a better, fairer Scotland.

We disagreed on one vote but we have so many common values. We are united by so much. A Yes or No vote doesn’t divide us now. They can unite us.’

Yet strangley, Davidson said the SNP was untrustworthy, the cybernats poured abuse on opponents and there should be no deal of any kind. This is odd for a few reasons. First, it is clearly the opposite of Murphy’s pitch because, while that was mostly aimed at Labour voters who went Yes, it is now clear that many more ‘Labour people’ are preparing to vote SNP and therefore Davidson is alienating them at just the wrong time.

Even the detail of this most vituperative of MPs doesn’t work – complaining about abuse…Should we forget the bayonetting of the wounded? Or the rank idiocy of rejecting a party opening a door to one of his supposed sacred objectives – the removal of Trident? Davidson clearly prefers to save his seat than to achieve a nuclear free Scotland…some principle.

But the overriding message is the most damaging. Davidson and those other panicked Labour backwoodsmen are rejecting not just the SNP but the huge numbers of Scots voting for them, telling them they don’t care how they vote. Unless they vote Labour, they don’t count. And finally the coup de grace – he prefers to see a Tory government than to work with the SNP.

Even if the majority of Scots return Nationalists, Davidson will spurn them and wave in a Tory government. Can you imagine the damage that would do while Labour remained impotent and a phalanx of SNP members sat unused as Cameron and Osborne pursued their deeper cuts? Does he think what remains of Scottish Labour will survive that debacle? To use Davidson’s own phrasebook, this would be self- disembowelment.

And I don’t believe it. This is pre-election hyperbole to frighten Labour voters. When the die is cast, Labour will be duty bound to form a government, if it can – it’s own people will demand it and remember, many of them prefer the SNP’s ideas on key issues to Miliband’s. It is inconceivable that Labour would reject the option of a stable administration which could be established simply by completing earlier the inevitable devolution of powers for Home Rule – for which they would be congratulated in Scotland. Delaying the renewal of Trident – or re-examining the whole issue of the nuclear arsenal – would delight many Labour voters.

The truth is that Labour MPs have nothing left to throw but the scare of more Tories, but in pretending to reject an SNP deal, they only make that event more likely.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

43 thoughts on “Spot the Difference

  1. I think it is a more than useful viewpoint (as this will keep coming up) to keep reminding everyone that Britain, or Great Britain, or the United Kingdom is not a nation or a country, which the SNP is hell-bent on destroying. ‘Britain is, as James Kelman puts it, is not a country, it is the name used by the ruling elite and its structures of authority to describe itself.’

    And that is what why we are for a Scottish Parliament for the Scottish people, independent from Westminster corruption and cronyism.

  2. Two peas in a pod, both asked God
    Who’ll win the Westminster race?
    Will the Tories succeed, or will New Labour lead?
    Who will end up in first place?

    Way up in the sky, God looked down with a sigh,
    Upon the political game,
    “What do I see, Tweedledum, Tweedledee?
    You both look exactly the same”.

  3. It will be utterly fascinating to see the bluster and back peddling if, by some miracle, the SNP secure more than 50% of the vote – something no Westminster governing party has achieved in my five decades on this planet.

    They talk about democracy but, when push comes to shove, we may see a clear demonstration from the Westminster “big guns” that we live in a profoundly undemocratic society.

    • That would be great. 50%+ was once historically achieved by the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party in Scotland in the 1950s.

      But they are not to be confused with today’s Tories.

      They were really an antique survival of the old 19th century Liberal Party unionist wing that had merged with the Conservatives just before WW1. With a strong association with Presbyterianism. Consevative with the small ‘c’. More like a churchy version of the Lib Dems today.

      And the reason their vote was so high, was because it was really a ‘nationalist’ protest vote against Labour’s recent nationalisations, including the trains, and coal.

      What they feared (and they were right) was that nationalisation of key parts of Scotland’s industrial and transport infrastructure would remove local (i.e., Scottish) control, and decisions would be made about this in London over which Scots would have virtually no influence.

      And lo and behold, within a decade Beeching had closed many branch lines in Scotland, including the Borders line.

      And a decade after that Thatcher came along and closed the pits and privatised the rest of the rail network, including Scotland’s.

      Just mentioning this context in case it ever comes up, so that we all know that it wasn’t a Tory vote, but a Scottish vote.

  4. Thank you Derek. It does seem that the Establishment (for want of a better word) are having serious palpitations about the possibility that the Scottish electorate have finally had enough and want their “Representatives” to actually represent them.

    I listened to Jim Murphy on GMS and for once he was mildly challenged and was on the point of losing it! Are these people really so incapable of rational thinking? It does seem so.

    The next 7/8 weeks will be far more of the same – the Jim message of “the largest party forms the government” – as repeated by Kezzia on QT. The “Vote SNP, get Tory” mantra that is completely trashed, and the usual ad hominem attacks on SNP figures. Do they not see that the electorate are far more sophisticated now? Again, apparently not.

    If the GE result is a hung Parliament (I think it will be) and there is 5/10 MPs difference between Lab and Con – it matters not who has the most – but ONLY some form of agreement will enable Labour to assume power, does anyone seriously think for a moment that they will turn that aside?

    The last three years have woken up a significant proportion of the electorate, they are not going back to sleep any time soon.

    Tony Little

  5. I had earmarked 2020 as a target date for achieving self determination. However all this recent chatter of grand coalitions between the red and blue Tories to spike SNP influence at Westminster in the event of a hung parliament is making me think my timing is overly pessimistic. You really can smell the fear rising from the cesspit of Westminster these days – take a deep breath and enjoy.

  6. Worth a vote for the SNP in GE 2015 just to enjoy the reactions of Major, Davidson, Cameron, Murphy, Lord Heseltine, Lord Robertson, Ed “Border Guards” Miliband, and all the other Imperial masters.

    Wouldn’t it be worth it just to make their lives a bit more uncomfortable?

    • It’s the only way things will change for the better in Scotland until self determination is achieved.

  7. Alasdair Macdonald.

    Tsk! Tsk! Derek. “When the dye (sic) is cast”? You are leaving an opening here for the SLabbers to present a picture of those nationalists resorting to violence again. Can you not see the Daily Vow headline: “Nat Gauleiter Bateman calls on his thugs to throw paint bombs at the Eggman.”?

    The sad thing is that Messrs McTernan and McDougall might yet resort to it.

  8. I’d love to share this Derek, but I know some of the language used would have you pounced on as just another vile nat. I’m still struggling with some people who were Yes but think there’s a bitterness in the air. Any chance of a wee edit…”English supremacist disease” “English snobs”

    • ronald alexander mcdonald

      The problem when you start to edit is that you can compromise the truth and in Derek’s case his journalistic integrity.

      Derek has hit the nail of the head, yet again. His language is entirely appropriate considering the text.

    • But isn’t that what it is? I’m not saying this is remotely true of all English politicians and certainly not of all English people but it is true of Major, Tebbit, Heseltine, Straw, Redmond, Farage, and quite a few others.

      The saddest thing is that they can’t actually see it themselves. They are so blinkered by their sense of entitlement and taking Scotland for granted as a passive entity that they can stick their nukes in without as much as a by-your-leave, that the very thought of Scotland asserting her voice as a nation within nations, has them apoplectic with rage.

      They were once planning on using Scotland for nuclear bomb tests in the 1950s, in Caithness. What stopped them was the consideration that Norway, a country about the same size as Scotland but a recent ally in WW2 and a NATO signatory, might actually object.

  9. smiling vulture

    MSM today full on attacks SNP,God knows what it will be like when official campaign starts

  10. The Westminster establishment and the hysterical right wing English press are going to go berserk at the prospect of a social democratic government being in charge.
    Not only that but they will see a large number of SNP MPs as “foreigners” interfering in England’s affairs who must be sent packing at the earliest opportunity.
    What fun!
    Most people in England probably can’t remember what a government not driven by Thatcherite dogma looks like and will be pleasantly surprised when they find out that there is such a thing as “society” and policies which are geared to people and not the City of London inc. and associates.
    Then again,it may not happen if the Westminster elite decide to prevent it at all costs,which is where Murphy and friends come in…..maintaining the neoliberal cartel at Westminster by spouting pretendy socialist values in Scotland.
    The con party.

  11. Two sets of Tories, with ideologies you couldn’t slip a fag paper between, continuing to high five their way through an election campaign.

    Who knew?

    They are terrified of a Scottish electoral backlash for their behaviour throughout the referendum and guess what? They are right to be terrified. However in their naked fear and with much thrashing and flailing at enemies real and imagined, they are bringing about the very outcome they fear most. Major and Davidson reveal the true nature of both the union and the establishment in their support of each other. They reveal the fact that there is no partnership, no respect for the electorate, no family of nations, no intent to offer olive branches or respect the wishes of even a fair percentage of those who voted in support of continued union.

    There for all to see is the naked racism, otherness and societal division they project on to others. Not pretty is it? So to those who voted no because they hoped for home rule, a fairer partnership, increased social justice, do you think the mindset illustrated by these fine examples will deliver these things? Do you believe that Westminster can be reformed to be of any use to the electorate? Do you still believe Home Rule is achievable without the SNP holding them to account?

    May 7th, show the establishment the door.

  12. Just a wee fly past with a small comment for you to mull over Derek.

    I know I said that I would never comment on here again but given that according to you Ian Davidson and John Major are like “two peas in a pod” could you point me to Major’s equivalent of the 432:50 report?

    You know the report Davidson commissioned Andy Wightman to draft that did more to highlight the imbalance in land ownership in Scotland than anyone (including your beloved snp) has ever done?

    When you compare Davidson’s record on land reform to the pathetic example of double speak, lying and utter betrayal that Richard Lochhead and the rest of the SNP have presided over you have some cheek pointing the finger at him.

    • bob mccracken


    • Steve Asaneilean

      Come on jings – be fair. The report was commissioned by the Scottish Affairs Select Committee – chaired by Mr Davidson. Not quite the same thing.

      When it was published in 2013 Dr Jim Hunter (Labour) said, as one of the authors, it would be enacted. But it hasn’t has it. He said it definitely wouldn’t sit on a shelf gathering dust – so what is it doing.

      The last interim report of the subsequent enquiry was published a year ago and consisted largely of a long list of further calls for evidence. So where are we now?

    • Even Ian can get some things right, the trouble is like most of the Labour Party they will not work with the SNP, nobody not even me and I have been both member and supporter for all of my life, I have never said that they were perfect but one thing I will say is that they care more about Scotland and it’s people than Labour and indeed Ian Davidson has ever done.

  13. Was that not 50% of seats as opposed to votes.

  14. Was that not 50% of seats as opposed to 50% of votes cast.

  15. It doesn’t surprise me at all. The SNP being in the position to form a powerful bloc of votes simply was not in the plan at all. Everything was supposed to be reset to the 70’s with Scotland under labours thumb and could be safely ignored. The very idea of a Scottish party with no English counterpart, representing Scotland’s interests in Westminster has scared these “unionists” shitless. So much so that they are prepared to end the union to save the union. Which sort of underscores the main problem with Britain and the union. It doesn’t really exist. Its a quasi-federal hybrid, but no one can agree as to what actually happened when the act of union was signed. England came away thinking Scotland had become part of England. Scotland thought it had got England’s thumb out of its eye. 300 years on, and people like major still think Scotland became part of England. A large majority of Scots came to see it as a collective pro-noun, others thought it was a dual nationality and a small proportion thought it was an identity in its own right. No one could really agree on what unionist party was better suited to represent Scotland in Westminster. At one stage Scotland felt the liberals were better suited. Then things changed and it was the Scottish unionists who could be trusted. Then it was labours turn. Many agreed that the Tories were a disaster waiting to happen, so wouldn’t vote for them regardless. But regardless of how Scotland voted, it was really England that got to choose the government. Scotland only got the government it wanted, when England wanted it to. Things are always fine when that happens. The tension only starts when the two nations disagree.

    The referendum simply shone a light on the fudge that is the union. It also cast the labour party as something that can’t really be trusted to represent Scotland at Westminster. We might not get the government we want, but with the SNP – at least for now – we get a party that can be trusted to represent Scotland’s interests in Westminster. The other parties don’t like that? tough.

    • Very sharp David. The Union only worked when the interests of Scotland and England converged. Which they did, for a long time. It was really to build an empire. The Whigs wanted that, and to keep the French at bay. And then battling two world wars against imperial foes then Fascist aggressors kept us together. But now our empire gone our interests diverge and the current constitutional arrangements no longer work. That’s the problem.

  16. Westminster British STATE Cartel

    They think it’s all over……..It is now!

  17. Good post David.

    ” The tension only starts when the two nations disagree.”

    And that takes us right to the core of the issue.

    Treaty: A treaty is an agreement under international law entered into by actors in international law, namely sovereign states and international organizations. A treaty may also be known as an (international) agreement, protocol, covenant, convention, pact, or exchange of letters, among other terms.

    The treaty of union; a bilateral international treaty with two signatories.

    Westminster; a house of joint governance for a unitary state, a political construct where representatives of said treaty come together to form joint governance and legislation which carries the whole forward…

    … or that’s the spirit and intent. The reality has proven somewhat different.

    Both parties should represent the needs and wishes of their electorates whilst governing for the whole, but what happens when those interests differ? What happens when what has been a decidedly one sided partnership is suddenly faced with the concept that the other partner is getting fair fed up with the one sided arrangement?

    The union was given what IMO, was a last chance to do the right thing by their partner in September last year. So far the establishment appear to be repaying those voters by throwing petrol on smouldering embers of disaffection. Frankly had I been sitting in the big chair in W1 the last thing I’d be doing is pissing off that percentage of voters who were so generous. But arrogance, entitlement, ignorance and a lack of gratitude appear to go hand in glove with some folks job description,

    • England as a nation, as a people, has become very introspective since Empire went. It doesn’t know where it stands. In Europe or out. In the mid-Atlantic or what.

      Conversely, Scotland has become less so. Some might say it was always thus – that it was the Scots who mainly went out and built the Empire whilst the English stayed at home to enjoy the proceeds. That would be a gross exaggeration, but the fact is that Scots were disproportionally represented in Empire.

      It was to expand overseas and reach overseas markets that we gave up our sovereignty to merge ours with England’s. England grudgingly agreed to let us into their markets on the grounds of national security (we were then a back door to the French).

      Now that the Empire is gone and overseas markets can be reached by other means, there is nothing more to bind us than collective security. A powerful tie you might think; but one on which we cannot agree. The British establishment wants Trident; we don’t want it in Scotland. They will I’m afraid fight us tooth and nail to keep us (and Trident) under their thumb. It’s central to the power elite’s global status and power projection.

      • I agree and a good summation.

        Instruments of global projection, plentiful natural resources, ready supply of taxes and talent. A good deal if the electorate’s representatives are compliant and in control of their constituencies, the electorate’s choices of representatives limited to a literal duopoly and that duopoly operates governance under a closed shop umbrella.

        Of course that’s fine right up until the electorate starts to question the record of the parties of government and begin to think for themselves. 😉

        “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.” Abraham Lincoln

        A favourite quotation of mine, but as true today as it was then and for all the the power of the global elite? Outside of a force of nature, there is nothing more powerful than a motivated and royally pissed off electorate.

  18. Gavin.C.Barrie

    @MBC: a more detailed historical analysis would be appreciated.

    Being of an age when assisted passages were available in the days of the UK empire, it was unthinkingly agreeable to the people of Scotland and England. Loads of opportunities in South Africa, Canada, Australia. Now however, without the empire, England and Scotland need to look to their own resourcefulness to ” earn a buck”, and so we learn that England has been taking more than its share of Scotland’s resources, and abusing the integrity of Scotland’s land – Dalgety Bay, Dounray(?), Trident base etc.,

    Put simply, the game is up. The House of Lords is potentially the final exploding star of the Uk galactic empire. The catalyst, voting SNP to oust all unionist MPs.

    • Well it was a post, not a book!

      Derek interviewed historian Murray Pittock before the referendum, on Bateman Broadcasting.

      One thing that Murray said stuck in my mind: that he felt that the loss of Empire in the 1960s left the British ruling classes without anything to rule, and so they turned their sights on the British peripheries, Scotland particularly. But also Britain in general.

      And I’ve thought a lot about that, and I think it’s very perceptive. When you consider how the British imperial system evolved, how its ruling class was educated to rule in the British public school system and at Oxbridge; the experience of power and ruling that was built up. You can’t just dissolve that overnight. It’s got to find an outlet somewhere. Douglas Carswell (an apparently intelligent man who defected from the Tories to UKIP) also wrote on his blog that what motivated him to jump was the way that power is opaque and unaccountable in Britain, held by the Sir Humphreys in Whitehall. That he wanted more accountability, more people power. Bizarre that a kipper would say that, but he’d had a lot of experience of how power worked secretively in Britain, and he didn’t like it. He learned that Cameron was going to hold an EU referendum, but that he’d already agreed with Whitehall that they would ‘fix’ it so that it would lose.

      Sound familiar? The Scottish indyref was a dummy run.


    You have got to listen to this link to GMS Bill Whiteford interview with Jim Murphy. To say Bill made mincemeat of Jim Murphy is to put it mildly. You will enjoy. Murphy interview is 2h 10m into broadcast.

  20. PS link is from Good Morning Scotland Friday 6 March in case the link doesn’t work.

  21. smiling vulture

    If reports in Herald are true,Ed Milliband speech will mainly be about how NHS in Scotland will be at risk if Tory party has a majority never mind win,election.

    Completely contradicts Better Together Referendum Campaign on NHS

    Derek I hope you are taking notes on how BBC cover this

  22. As you state, Derek, Major does not appear to begin to understand the concept of Union but it occurs to me that he had a very clear approach to Congress.

    Keep up the god work.

  23. Antoine Bisset

    It would be counter-productive for the SNP to enter into any coalition with any unionist party on any terms, incuding supply and confidence. Any agreement whatsoever, no matter how the SNP PR department would like to spin it, will cost the SNP votes in Scotland. Having fought the unionists in September and argued agaist the lies and dissembling that the unionists used wholesale and unashamedly, it would be utterly hypocritical to join hands with them on any matter. My fear is that, as politicians, they would do just that. Integrity is in short supply and most politicians have no idea what it is.
    The bold route for the SNP to take should they establish a major presence in Westminster is to abstain from coalition with anybody, and force another General Election. Repeat as necessary until the unionists have had enough and sit down to discuss independence with a date pencilled in. Risky it may be but is the only feasible route currently open and it would be a prize worth going for. Unless, of course, that is not what the SNP is about?

Leave a Reply